Glacier Gorge

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

September 11 -12, 2004

Dave Svilar, Jill Wolverton



ALPINE CUDDLE  Absorbing the last rays above our bivy.

After a lovely hike with my parents into Glacier Gorge a couple weeks prior I decided the Spearhead must be climbed.  The north side of the peak has one of the premier moderate routes in Rocky Mountain National Park, so it seemed the perfect weekend outing for Jill and I.  After somewhat of a late start we slowly wandered into Glacier Gorge enjoying the scenery that makes up the prettiest area I have seen in my time in Colorado.  Meandering creeks, glacier polished rock, lush meadows, high peaks and blue skies all contributed to the beauty of the hike to the bottom of the Spearhead.

The Spearhead is a striking chunk of of granite rising to over 12,000', but dwarfed by surrounding peaks of Longs, Chiefs Head, McHenry's and others.  Our bivy permit 'restricted' us to camp above Black Lake and under the shadow of the Spearhead.  It would be difficult to describe the area as anything other than a mountain conassiur's dream - high peaks, tarns, and more glacier polished rock.  I made the comment that I did not care if we made the climb - the setting was so beautiful.  This attitude proved prophetic, because we never even started up on the Spearhead as circumstances such as a lack of food, weather, and Jill's pension to become cold forced us back to the Toyota.

No matter, a climb would have just put an exclamation mark on an otherwise wonderful outing.  We also discovered an easy, albeit expensive way to get overnight permits for RMNP without planning months in advance.  As long as one is willing to haul some climbing gear one can obtain a bivy permit for any major area in the park - just convince the rangers you are climbing.  The Spearhead will have to wait for another year. 

GLACIAL TILL  Jill cinches down her pack after a break near a erratic boulder.


STRAIGHT AND NARROW  Trail between Mills and Black Lakes.


KEYBOARD OF THE WINDS  Looking up from our bivy towards features on Longs Peak.


REFLECTED  Keyboard of the Winds at sunset in a puddle.


STAR GAZING  Star trails above the Spearhead.  Satellite trail visible in upper right of picture.


DAWN  Sunrise near the bivy looking back down Glacier Gorge.


CLIMBING?  Jill wondering why she's standing in the middle of a lake instead of climbing.


BOULDER HOP  Jill playing on the rocks instead of climbing our original objective, Spearhead in background.


Jill shows her perfect running form.


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